Anderson Japanese Garden

Japanese gardens are a place of serenity and beauty intermixed with harmony. The people of the United States are lucky enough to have some amazing examples that are designed by renowned Japanese landscape architects. Anderson Japanese Garden is one such high-quality Japanese garden. It is located about 90 miles northwest of Chicago. Anderson Japanese Gardens was built in 1978. It was built by Rockford businessman, John Anderson. He took the help of Master Craftsman and designer Hoichi Kurisi.



  1. The Elements: There are three main elements in all the Japanese gardens – stone, water, and plants. At the Anderson Japanese garden, all these three elements are blended beautifully. Elements like stone lanterns, pagodas, basins, and bridges are also prominent in the Japanese gardens.


  1. Falls and Lakes: You will be surprised to see the falls in the flattest areas in the Midwest. The one thing that you will learn about the Midwest is that there is always a new experience waiting for you. Each section of the garden is designed in a special unique way. Upon entering, you will be greeted by a beautiful lake. The best thing you can do is to stroll around the lake and let your mind wander.


  1. Flowers and Sculptures: Japanese pines, maples, and other beautiful flowers make the gardens burst with colors. Blue irises bring the spring beauty and the red maples reflect in the autumn water. Be amazed by the bronze angel sculptures by Carl Milles in the Garden of Reflection. Walk over the Cypress Bridge, Sukiya style teahouses and guesthouses.


Important Facts:

  • Anderson donated the gardens to the Rockford Rotary Charitable Association in 1998.
  • Anderson Japanese garden is 12 acres of stunning nature and water features.
  • In 2004, the gardens were named the best Japanese gardens in North America by the Journal of Japanese Gardening.
  • Educational programs are held in the garden that covers the language, art, and culture of Japan.

What to Expect

Docent-guided tours are offered at the Anderson Japanese Garden from Monday to Friday. The tour lasts about two hours and advanced booking is recommended. Tours are also offered for the two buildings – the Laurent house and a 16th century Sukiya style guest house. These tours must be reserved at least 4 weeks in advance. The garden also serves breakfast and lunch at their restaurant, Fresco at the Garden. The restaurant offers fresh organic and locally grown food.



Before starting the garden tour, purchase some food for koi from the gift shop. Toss it in the ponds and see the water ripple as the large and colorful fish comes to the surface to eat. Walk around the beautiful landscape around the waterfalls, ponds, and rock formations. You will see small pagodas and other Sukiya style buildings throughout the garden.


Plan your visit

You can drive under 2 hours from Chicago to visit the Anderson Japanese Garden. Purchase the tickets online or at the front desk. You can also join their membership program for complimentary admission. Kids under the age of 5 are eligible to have free admission.

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